Reverse Swing: Howdy, Modi?
Of course, we remember how you were smothered with the ra-ra cheers of your 19,000 Hindutva groupies at Madison Square Garden, when you pushed your way in soon after you had been elected Prime Minister.
Hey there; howdy, buddy?
Gratified to see you are in such a rush to be back with us in the US of A even as you complete 100 days of your second term. This is the fifth time in six years you are gracing our soil, last being the state visit in 2017 when you (and we) demonstrated our mutual capacities for hugging.
Of course, we remember how you were smothered with the ra-ra cheers of your 19,000 Hindutva groupies at Madison Square Garden when you pushed your way in soon after you had been elected Prime Minister. We were the idiots to have clamped a visa-ban on you in 2005. You neatly struck back in 2014, by landing in our country as a PM, on a diplomatic passport. We did not realise that the visa-ban had affected your ego so badly and that you would retaliate by revisiting us again and again with such vengeance once you assumed power. Also, that time we just stood by and watched you transform into a rock-star, promising the NRIs an India of their mythical dreams, even as they jumped up and down and wore your face-masks and screamed their guts out.
This time, we will not repeat that mistake. This time, when you address a sold-out crowd of 50,000 at the NRG Stadium in Houston, Sunday, we too will join you under the banner of ‘Shared Dream, Bright Future’. It is being touted as possibly the largest gathering for a visiting dignitary to the US, other than the Pope. So, it will not harm us if we tap into this block of ‘committed’ voters by being seen cosying up to you. It will not be bad at all if we practised a bit and grabbed you and hugged you like you did ISRO Chairman Kailasavadivoo Sivan, for the world to see. That was a masterclass. And, just now, you have also exhorted your fellow Indians to unrestrainedly embrace each Kashmiri too. That is a strategy coup, indeed. First incarcerate them, disempower them, and then, embrace them. Drat! We should have tried this in Afghanistan. Anyway, we’ll try it now with the Iranians, Hassan Rouhani and Ali Khamenei. Might not have the bandwidth, though, to try that with Kim Jong-Un.
Buddy, we are quite grateful you are dropping in. It must be such a Hanuman-ian task for you to take time out for us from your crackling international schedule. Our world-leaders’ travel-tracker has been pinging away against your name. We notice that since taking over the reins of your country, you have been visiting countries abroad on an average of more than one a month annually and, in a couple of years (2015 and 2018), it was even an average of two countries a month.
We understand this completely. It must be so suffocating and restricting for a person of your sensitivities to be in India always, with its ungrateful citizens complaining of joblessness or recession or a 5% growth rate not matching your 5 trillion vision. Both the parliament and sections of the media churlishly keep needling you to answer questions, while your own style is to sermonise on the radio – where you do not have to see anyone’s face nor answer anyone’s questions. Wasn’t it Marshall McLuhan who categorised the radio as the symbol of ‘communication’ that never takes place?
Even otherwise, our making common cause with you is most appropriate. We here, in North America, have trillions of dollars and millions of skyscrapers and thousands of nuke-tipped missiles. But we suffer an inferiority complex because we lack the kind of antiquity of civilisation that you boast of in Harappa and Rakhigarhi. What are we, hardly over 400 years old, compared to your over 80,000 years of human migrations? And, wasn’t it you who first created flying machines and plastic surgery, for us to pick and imitate later, following in your glorious footsteps?
It is most gratifying for us, therefore, when you choose to drop in on us so often and endorse our existence here. It is possible, that an archeo-genetic examination might even prove that, on this continent, we are actually an ‘out-of-India’ population. After all, Columbus thought he had reached India when he drifted ashore here and found himself amidst Indians – even if they looked Red to him. And, now, as per latest enumerations, there are over 2.4 million Indian immigrants in our country, with a rate of growth that indicates the USA might become a country with a predominantly Indian population in 50 years. Already, they occupy some prominent positions here – like Kamala Harris and Tulsi Gabbard in politics or Sundar Pichai, Satya Nadella and Indra Nooyi in corporate corridors. In other fields too, from science to literature to entertainment. And they have never been denied the right here to volubly assert their Indian origin and claim to their unique cultural identity and space.
This, we notice, is already causing some restiveness among descendants of the original white settlers, who are seeing this as a form of cultural aggression, besides being unacceptable competition within the shrinking job market. Just the incessant rattle of a wooden block being struck by a stick (thattu-mittu) from Bharatanatyam schools in almost every street in every city, is sending my people crazy. They are now aggressively campaigning for a National Register of Citizens (NRC), which will initiate a process and declare as illegal anyone of Indian origin who migrated here post-1950. Once the register is compiled, all those not qualifying under its cut-off category will be repatriated. Those refusing to do so will be housed in reservations and detention centres, somewhat like what their Red cousins are being subjected to at the moment.
But, come to think of it, my buddy, we cannot deny the several commonalities between our two cultures too. For example, we have our gunslingin’ cowboys in our dust bowl and you have your club-swingin’ ‘gau rakshaks’ in your cow-belt. Both are red-necks of a kind and are ever ready for some sport and action where they can play with defenceless victims. However, we do feel far more advanced than you in the sport you seem to have lately stumbled upon – public lynching. In fact, that is something we can discuss when we meet over the next few days, and arrive at an MoU for knowledge sharing, training, and upgradation of skills. You do not need nuclear or space or digital or genetic technology from us. Just refine the lynch-mob practice over the next decade and, at one (ahem!) shot, you would have solved your population, your employment, and your cultural insecurity problems.
We are some sort of world leaders in this. Our official statistics show that after our civil war, for about 85 years (1882-1968), we lynched 4,743 people, at least 75% of whom were of African-American descent. Your lazy fellows haven’t even hit a half-century yet. And despite the enthusiastic efforts of the police, your party and the justice system at the lower levels, some of these chaps are even being arrested and charged. But look at us. In nine decades in the US, 99% of the perpetrators of lynching have clean escaped any punishment.
Would you not want guidance and training in this growth sector? We can be your gurus here. In fact, it is only 10 months ago, in December 2018, that a spoke in the wheel was lodged in the form of the ‘Justice for Victims of Lynching Act’, making it a federal hate crime. Before any such calamity overtakes you, buddy, you should consolidate your lynch-execution plan.
It was that meddlesome person of Indian origin Kamala Devi Harris, who initiated this bill along with two others. Now she is a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the US Presidency in the 2020 election. If she succeeds, it would be a most discomfiting moment for our future together as buddies. We will need your – and that Shah-man’s – help in planning some sort of an interim NRC here, by which we can expatriate the lady back to India.
Of course, this might upset your apple cart back in India, as she might prove to be more than what you bargained for in an Indian political scenario bereft of any Opposition. But, then, what are buddies for? We will ensure that Imran Khan demobilises his inswingers and stops raiding Kashmir for its apples. And, if you let us hug you in Houston, we promise not to repeat our offer to mediate in Kashmir.
Whatcha say, Modi, buddy? Shall we lock in on the deal?